Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Also known as FRANCISCUS À SANCTA CLARA and sometimes by the alias of FRANCIS HUNT and FRANCIS COVENTRY.

Theologian, b. 1598, at Coventry, England, d. 31 May, 1680. He was the son of Alderman John Davenport and Elizabeth Wolley, and from the grammar school at Coventry went to Dublin where he spent fifteen months, leaving it 22 Nov., 1611. In 1613 he and his brother John proceeded to Merton College, Oxford, entering as "battelers" and taking Cook's commons; but the warden required them to enter as commoners or to leave the college ; whereon in 1614 they migrated to Magdalen Hall. Here Christopher became B. A. on 28 May, his Dublin residence being allowed to count. (Oxford University Register.) John subsequently became a noted Puritan divine and emigrated to New England, where with a band of colonists he founded the city of New Haven, Connecticut (1638). Christopher was converted to Catholicism by a priest living near Oxford and in 1615 went to Douay. Attracted by the efforts restore the English Franciscan Province, he joined the Flemish Franciscans at Ypres, 7 Oct., 1617. When he was professed (under the name of Franciscan à Sancta Clara) he joined the English Recollects at the newly-established convent of St. Bonaventure at Douay (18 Oct., 1618). He was sent to the University of Salamanca in Spain, where he took is degree in divinity and won reputation theologian. Returning to Douay, he became first professor of theology at St. Bonaventure's and filled the office of guardian. At length he was sent to England and was appointed chaplain to Queen Henrietta Maria, in which capactity he attended the Court and became acquainted with King Charles I, Archbishop Laud, Montague, Bishop of Norwich, and Goodman, Bishop of Gloucester. Inspired with the idea of converting England by means of corporate reunion, he wrote a treatise to show that the Thirty-nine Articles were susceptible of an interpretation more in accordance with Catholic teaching than was usually supposed. This was the "Paraphrastica Expositio Articulorum Confessionis Anglicanae", published as an appendix to his book, "Deus, Nature, Gratia", in 1634. It offended many Catholics and was put on the Index in Spain, though a condemnation at Rome was averted by Panzani, the pope's nuncio in London.

On 19, June, 1637, Davenport was elected provincial of the order, an office to which he was subsequently re-elected, 10 July 1650, and 4 June, 1665. After the Restoration he was appointed chaplain to Queen Catharine of Braganza, and returned to London, where he spent most of his remaining years with occasional visits to Flanders. His intellectual ability and attractive manner won him the friendship of many, and aided in reconciling numerous converts, among whom was Anne, Duchess of York. He lived to celebrate three jubilees -- of religious profession, of the priesthood, and of the mission.

His works are:

  • "Epistolium, continens confutationem duarum proposititionem astrologicarum" (Douay, 1626);
  • "Deus, Natura, Gratia" with the important appendix described above (Lyons, 1634);
  • "Apologia Episcoporum" (Cologne, 1640);
  • "The Practice of the Presence of God" (Douay, 1642);
  • "Systema Fidei" (Liège, 1648);
  • "De Definibilitate Controversiae Immaculate Conceptionis Dei Genitricis Opusculum" (Douay, 1651);
  • "Explanation of the Mundo Peripatetico" (Antwerp, 1652);
  • "An Echiridion of Faith" (Douay, 1655);
  • "Explanation of the Catholic Belief" (1656);
  • "Manuale Missionariorum Regularium praecipue Anglorum Ordinis Sacti Francisci" (Douay, 1658, 1661);
  • "Fragmenta: seu Historia Minor. Provine. Angl. Fratrum Minorum";
  • "Tractatus de Schismate praesertim Anglicano";
  • "Vindication of Roman Catholics" (1659);
  • "Liber Dialogorum" (Douay, 1661);
  • "Problemata Scholastica et controversialia speculativa";
  • "Corollarium Dialogi de Medio Aninarum Statu",
  • "Religio Philosophia Peripati discutienda" (Douay, 1662, 1667);
  • "Opera omnia Francisci a S. Clara" (Douay, 1665-1667);
  • "Disputatio de antiqua Provinciae Praecedentia" (1670);
  • "Supplementum Historiae Provinciae Angliae" (Douay, 1671).

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter